Going a step beyond the typical building blocks for children, the WoodyMac blocks help young people develop a new understanding of how to build.
My first thoughts when I saw this project on Kickstarter were; how much my little ones would love this, and how much I would enjoy building with these blocks as well. Then I looked into the background and saw that this campaign had been canceled twice before. This gave me pause in signing up and so I arranged to talk with the creator, Sergey Chuklin, about why he decided to drop the two previous campaigns.
“The first initiative was canceled primarily to achieve better international shipping options. As Kickstarter does not allow for changes during the campaign, “We had to quickly cancel the first effort and restart the next campaign”, according to Mr. Chuklin.
Soon after the second launch, the US government announced it would be announcing new regulations for magnets in childrens’ toys, so Mr. Chuklin said they decided to cancel the second Kickstarter launch to provide sufficient time to assess the new rules “Even though our team was positive about the safety of the toys and our kids were first to play with it, we had to learn what that new regulations required and if the WoodyMac toys qualified for certification. As we discovered this rule during the campaign, we did not have a luxury (time-wise) to be sure we could get it certified with the configuration we had.” per Mr. Chuklin.
I looked into the regulations which Mr. Chuklin described that were issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and was surprised to see the impact of these new governmental policies on his campaign. He had launched his campaign on October 2nd, 2014 and the CPSC announced the following day that new legislation, affecting magnets in children’s toys, would be forthcoming in six months. After watching their campaign do so well, $74,360 raised by 388 backers, Mr. Chuklin’s team decided to pull the product a second time and wait for the proper certification.
Mr Chuklin’s commitment to this project became clear when I asked him how he came up with his original idea for this children’s toy. “Watching my friend’s children play on electronic devices all day inspired me to begin working on a new kind of building block that would keep children’s interest longer, and help them work in a 3D environment. We are not in this for the money or else we would have just let the second campaign finish and figure everything out from there. We just want to build toys that young people will love and learn with.”
Research on the comparison between physical toys and those online is not definitive, but the value of playing with actual toys to inspire creativity, problem-solving, and fun cannot be overstated.
Now that WoodyMac has its ASTM F963-11 certification, the new campaign is trending well and is 83% funded with 33 days left to go. The project also has a simplified reward program to avoid any confusion and avoid any future roadblocks.
We wish them the best of luck on their campaign that can be found here.